It seems that State Representative Anthony DeLuca is the one who is talking about the problems of a proposed south suburban casino because he is willing to see local communities benefit from the fresh tax revenues that such a gambling venue would bring. To make this happen, Mr. DeLuca is pushing state officials to make their choice from four applicants and finally award an operating license for a new casino set to be established in the region.
He insists that local communities need a decision about the casino soon because the economic benefits associated with the construction of such a gambling venue are much needed.
Earlier in March, State Representative DeLuca sent one more letter to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), asking the gambling regulatory body to proceed with the process of the necessary assessment of the candidates and conducting their background checks. Previously, he addressed the watchdog in August 2020 to express his concern with the delays in the process.
Back in January 2021, the Board said that the request-for-proposal phase did not attract any investment banker to make the financial checks of the four casino license applicants. A couple of months later, the process is still not doing much progress.
DeLuca explained that he is not asking the Illinois Gaming Board to lower its standards during the approval procedure but to urge the regulator to apply these standards as quickly as possible so that the south suburban communities start benefitting from the economic rewards a casino is expected to bring.
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Mr. DeLuca revealed that the gambling watchdog responded to his letter by thanking him for his support of the process. The Illinois Gaming Board also promised a transparent and thorough licensing process but did not provide an exact timeline for the license approval.
Illinois lawmakers gave the green light to a proposed piece of legislation seeking to expand the local gambling industry in May 2019. Thanks to the new law, the number of casino licenses in the state was increased from 10 to 16, and a total of 43 south suburban communities were promised to receive part of the revenues that a new Southland gambling and entertainment venue would bring.
The deadline for submitting applications closed in October 2019, with four operators expressing their interest to run the venue – Delaware North, Wind Creek LLC and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. All four of them proposed a location for the project at the time.
The gambling expansion law provided the Illinois Gaming Board with one year to make a decision when the applications were due. However, the coronavirus pandemic started, only to delay the process. Not to mention that in October last year, the regulator said it needed six more months to make a decision. With the six months set to come to an end very soon, the state has still not found an investment banker to complete the financial checks of the license applicants.
The casino in the state’s south suburbs was supposed to start operation sooner than a Chicago casino. However, the delays that have been faced so far may eliminate the potential for a competitive advantage to the planned mega-casino in Chicago, with the two venues possible to start operation around the same time.
March 20, 2021 at 08:19AM